New England

Northern New England Racing Toward Peak | 2019 Foliage Update

Peak foliage has arrived with a bang in northern New England. Learn more about this year’s forecast in our latest New England fall foliage report.

By Jim Salge

Sep 26 2019

Pittsburg, NH

The Connecticut Lakes Region of New Hampshire, Near Pittsburg Will Have Peak Color This Weekend.

Photo Credit : Jim Salge
It’s finally here. Peak autumn color is arriving in northern New England, and it’s corresponding perfectly to the first big leaf-peeping weekend. Honestly, we’re surprised by how early and abrupt the color change has been across northern New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine. We had originally expected a slightly later-than-average peak across the whole region — and for much of New England, that will likely still hold true.
Cooler Weather
While much of the East Coast has been sweltering, northern New England has been cool.
Photo Credit : Northeast Regional Climate Center
But while most of the East Coast has been experiencing above-normal temperatures, the northern states have had some surprisingly cool nights (and even a few frosts). Combine that with abundant sunshine and generally dry weather, and you have the perfect recipe for early fall foliage. And the colors have come on strong.
Dry Weather
Dry autumn weather can intensify foliage colors but also shorten the season.
For those hitting the road to see the color this weekend, the brightest forests are in the higher elevations and the far north. For many leaf peepers, this probably means making quite a drive, but we think it’ll be worth it. Each week we tell you where to see fall foliage this weekend, and for September 27–29 we’re recommending Pittsburg, New Hampshire; Rangeley, Maine; and Groton State Forest in Vermont. However, this is just a sampling of the many places where you can catch great color this weekend.
Pittsburg, NH
The Connecticut Lakes region of New Hampshire is set to have peak color this weekend.
Photo Credit : Jim Salge
Other places that will be dappled with bright foliage include most of Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, anywhere north of the Notches in New Hampshire, the mountains of western Maine, and the Crown of Maine. I’d also highlight destinations such as the Zealand Valley and Dixville Notch in New Hampshire, and Vermont’s Smuggler’s Notch, where color will be high but not yet peak.
Zealand Valley
The Zealand Valley will be approaching, but not quite reaching, peak color this weekend.
Photo Credit : Jim Salge
Just south and downhill from these highlighted areas are places such as the Connecticut River Valley in Vermont, the southern White Mountains in New Hampshire, and Downeast Maine, which will show some early color this weekend but continue to develop over the coming week or two. Given all this, there will be plenty of fall foliage in northern New England for those who planned their trips in early October. And we are really just getting started, since all of southern New England is still mostly green. If you aren’t looking to travel all the way up north, there are lots of autumn activities across New England in late September. Annual mainstays like the Deerfield Fair in New Hampshire and the Fryeburg Fair in Maine will feature food and fun and plenty of animals and competitions. Farmers’ markets are abundant, and the region’s apple orchards are heavily stocked with fruit (and often cider doughnuts too).
Swamp Maples
Red maples in wetlands are providing glimpses of fiery color in southern New England.
Photo Credit : Jim Salge
Additionally, if you know where to look, there will be touches of fall color even in southern New England this weekend. Wetland swamp maples are blazing red, and ferns on the forest edges and along stone walls are bright yellow. At, we offer many tools to help you pinpoint where to go to see the best of the changing leaves. We have a peak foliage prediction map, a map of live foliage updates, a foliage app, and frequent reportstracking the season in real time. Also, when posting all your best autumn images to Instagram this weekend, be sure to tag #myNewEngland to show us how you’re making the most of the season. We’ll see you out there!

More New England Foliage: 10 Best Fall Road Trips in New EnglandNew England Weekend Fall Foliage Planner10 Places to Visit in New England in Fall